Your relationships affect the quality of your life
As Aristotle said, humans are social creatures and they survive by being in societies. Relationships are at the core of our existence. However, we tend to neglect them, abuse them or even take them for granted. We forget that the quality of your relationship determines the quality of your life.
Why not have a better life? Why not improve the quality of your relationships?
Building strong, healthy relationships
Do you want to build strong and healthy relationships? Then you need to understand that relationships follow a cycle of harmony, disharmony and repair.
Disagreements and arguments are vital for making a relationship lasting and setting healthy foundations. You might ask yourselves why is that, why we need disagreements and arguments in relationships. The answer is that the ruptures give opportunities to drive away destructive communication and conflict patterns, and replace them with healthy productive ways of communication. In a paradoxical way, it is the rupture and the repair that can make relationships stronger and healthier, which can affect the quality of your life!
However, it is really important to understand that constant arguing or disagreeing will not make the relationship last. We need a balance between ruptures and repairs and positive interactions. The balance between positive and negative interactions through conflict can differentiate which relationships will last and are happy and which not. There is a specific ratio that makes love last. The magic ratio is 5:1 so, for every negative interaction during a conflict, a stable and happy relationship has five or more positive interactions. The positive interactions outgain the negative ones.
Happy couples argue, but also, they laugh, tease or hug each other all signs of affection because they have made emotional connections. On the other hand, unhappy couples tend to engage with less positive interactions to compensate for the negativity.
Negative interactions can be a result of conflict where anger has not been communicated in a healthy way. Behind anger there is hurt, behind criticism there is something you want, need, long for etc. Negative interactions are mostly about power and control, closeness and care or respect and recognition. If these needs are not met and if anger is communicated as criticism, contempt, destructiveness or stonewalling then this strong indicator that the relationship will fail as it is lacking validation and empathy.
Long-term relationships approach conflict differently compared to short-term relationships. Long-term relationships usually engage with some interactions that make their bond stronger and help to maintain positivity and closeness. Usually, they demonstrate the following behaviours that tend to make the argument more manageable to process and overcome:
- be interested
- express affections
- demonstrate they matter
- appreciate each other
- create opportunities for agreement
- apologise and empathise
- accept different perspective
Observe how you and your partner interact. Can you identify any of the above patterns? If not, think about the power dynamics of your relationship. What does the non-verbal communication say about you, your partner and the relationship? What are you really trying to communicate to each other? Do you find yourself stuck in the same behavioural patterns? Relationships require work - they do not just happen like this.
Keep track of these observations and reflections and get in touch if you would like to know how therapy can help you improve the quality of your relationship and life. Don’t wait for life to just happen. Take action and let’s talk.